3236.0 - Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2016 to 2041 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/03/2019   
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1 This publication contains 2016-based projections of households, families and living arrangements for the period 2016 to 2041. The projections are available for Australia, states and territories, capital cities and rest of states. These projections supersede the 2011-based series published in Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2011 to 2036 (cat. no. 3236.0) in March 2015.

Geography definition

2 Capital cities and rest of states are the GCCSA level of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) 2016 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001). The ASGS defines the whole ACT as a capital city area, thus projections were not produced below the Territory level for the ACT. The projections for Australia include Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Jervis Bay Territory and Norfolk Island, collectively referred to as Other Territories.

Household definition

3 A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is at least 15 years of age, usually resident in the same private dwelling. Although in reality some living arrangements are fluid, the Census assigns each person to a single household. The projection method therefore treats households as discrete units.


4 These projections use a propensity method based on that developed by McDonald and Kippen and used in Household Trends and Projections: Victoria, 1986-2011. The method identifies propensities from the Census of Population and Housing for persons to be in different living arrangements. Trends observed in the propensities over the last four Censuses are assumed to continue into the future, and applied to a projected population. Numbers of families are then derived from the projected living arrangements of the population, and numbers of households are derived from the projected numbers of families. For details see Technical Note - 'Method'.


5 The projection results are not predictions or forecasts. They are illustrations of the change in the numbers of households and families that would occur if assumptions about future trends in living arrangements were to occur.

6 The assumptions are based on past trends in living arrangements. No assessment has been made of changes in social and economic conditions which may influence future living arrangements. There is no certainty that any of the assumptions will be realised.


7 Sources of data for the projections are:

  • The 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Censuses of Population and Housing
  • Estimated resident population at 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017
  • Estimated households at 30 June 2016
  • ABS population projections at 30 June 2018 to 2041

Census of Population and Housing

8 Three Census items are used to obtain living arrangement propensities. These are household composition, family composition, and relationship in household of the usual resident population.

9 The Census only collects information on the relationship of each household member to person 1 and/or person 2 on the Census form. Relationships between other members of the household (e.g. between person 3 and person 4) are not captured. This may lead to an underestimation of the number of families, as well as relationships within the household and family type.

10 Person-level ‘relationship in household’ data within the Census is based on place of enumeration. This means persons temporarily absent from the household were excluded from the propensities due to limited relationship information. Visitors to households on Census night were also excluded from the propensities because they are not included in family coding in the Census.

Estimated Resident Population

11 Estimated Resident Population (ERP) published in Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0) is used as the 2016 and 2017 population base (projected population is used for later years).

12 ERP is based on Census counts of usual residents, with adjustments made for Census undercount (people present in Australia on Census night but missed by the Census count) and usual residents of Australia who were temporarily overseas at the time of the Census.

13 ERP does not distinguish between people who live in private versus non-private dwellings (NPDs). Household and family projections are concerned exclusively with the population usually resident in private dwellings. Therefore, for the purposes of these projections, the proportion of the Census count in NPDs was identified and excluded from the calculation of numbers of households and families. People living in NPDs are included in the analysis of living arrangements.

Estimated households

14 Estimated households are used to constrain the base year (2016) living arrangement propensities calculated from the 2016 Census. For details see Technical Note - 'Method'.

15 The 2016 estimated households in Australia in this publication (9,204,635) is greater than the 2016 Census count of households (8,286,077) published in various 2016 Census publications. The difference is a combination of dwelling undercount and dwelling misclassification in the Census and persons that were temporarily overseas on Census night. For the differences between Census counts and ERP see Explanatory Notes 11 to 13.

Population projections

16 Projected number of persons reflect the Series B population projections published in Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0)

17 Series B assumes ‘medium’ levels of future births, deaths and migration, based recent historical trends:
  • the total fertility rate for Australia declining to 1.8 babies per woman in 2027, and remaining constant thereafter;
  • life expectancy at birth will reach 82.1 years for males and 85.5 years for females by 2041;
  • net overseas migration will reach 225,000 people per year by 2027 and remain constant thereafter;
  • net interstate migration gains for some states and territories, and losses for others.

18 Only one population projection series is used. This means that the differences between the three series of household, family and living arrangement projections only reflect the different living arrangement assumptions, rather than differences in the underlying population.

19 Chapter 9 – ‘What If . . .’ discusses the results of using two other projections of the population, the Series A and Series C projections from Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) - 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0), as the assumptions about the future population of Australia and the states and territories.


21 Usually, in this publication, figures of less than one million are rounded in the text to the nearest hundred while figures of more than one million are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand.


22 Changes in population over time are commonly discussed in terms of average annual growth rates. In this publication, however, changes are for the most part presented as percentage increases or decreases over the entire 25-year period (from 2016 to 2041), in order to make differences between projected numbers (of households, families and people in different living arrangements) more discernible.


23 Some state and territory governments produce household projections, which may be a useful complement to the projections in this publication. These are typically based on different methods and are produced with specific attention to the observed and expected trends of that state, without the requirement of being constrained to Australia level data.


24 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


25 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.